Saturday, May 18, 2019

Snippets of Memory for Saturday, May 18, 2019

For some reason, I found myself thinking about The Drop Zone today.

The Drop Zone was a bizarre restaurant in Roselle, NJ during the 1980s that I used to frequent with Elayne in those days before I met Mr. Brilliant.  It was owned by a WWII fanatic.  It had decent-to-good red sauce Italian food and tables with red checkered tablecloths, but that's where any similarity to any other Italian restaurant ended.  The place was set up like an Army mess hall, and salads were served in metal bowls that may very well have been military surplus. There were WWII posters everywhere, including some shockingly racist anti-Japanese ones, and a life-size cutout of Frank Sinatra in the front of the place, which had a stage festooned with American flags.  And yes, Sinatra music played continuously.

Just for giggles, I did a Google search to see what I could find, and all I could find was this post from the late, great Bob Rixon, who also was known to pitch in at the old place.

You can have your Springsteen if you must, but for my money, no one ever wrote more poetically or elegiacally about life in that part of New Jersey north of the Cheesequake Service Area (and sometimes south) the way Bob did.  He was one of my many blog buddies that I never met in person, but I always envisioned him as one of those guys who lived surrounded by obscure books and vinyl records no one had ever heard of.  I was shocked in 2014 to hear from Tata that Bob had departed this level of reality, but The Rix Mix is still there as a lasting reminder of New Jersey's poet laureate manqué, as do the archives of his free-form radio show on WFMU.

Like many of the places I used to go, the Drop Zone is long gone.  I guess part of getting older is seeing the real-life manifestations of the things that live in our memories start to disappear.

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